CARVING AND SERVING
BY MRS. D.A. LINCOLN
AUTHOR OF "THE BOSTON COOK BOOK"
|TIP OF THE SIRLOIN, OR RIB ROAST||15|
|THE BACK OF THE RUMP||16|
|FILLET OF BEEF OR TENDERLOIN||17|
|ROUND OF BEEF, FILLET OF VEAL, OR FRICANDEAU OF VEAL||17|
|LEG OF MUTTON OR LAMB, OR KNUCKLE OF VEAL||19|
|LEG OF VENISON||20|
|SADDLE OF MUTTON||20|
|SADDLE OF VENISON||21|
|HAUNCH OF VENISON OR MUTTON||21|
|LOIN OF MUTTON, LAMB, VEAL, PORK, OR VENISON||22|
|SHOULDER OF MUTTON OR VEAL||22|
|FOREQUARTER OF LAMB OR VEAL||23|
|NECK OF VEAL||24|
|BREAST OF VEAL||24|
|CHARTREUSE, OR PRESSED MEAT||28|
|TO CUT UP A CHICKEN FOR A STEW OR FRICASSEE||28|
|BOILED FOWL OR TURKEY||30|
|SWEETBREADS, CHOPS, AND CUTLETS||39|
|SCALLOPED DISHES, MEAT PIES, ENTRÉES, ETC.||41|
|TEA AND COFFEE||43|
|MOULDS OF PUDDING, CREAMS, CHARLOTTE RUSSE, ICE-CREAM, ETC.||45|
|FRUIT AND NUTS||46|
|THE THICKNESS OF SLICES||47|
|UTENSILS FOR CARVING AND SERVING||48|
|LAST BUT NOT LEAST||52|
"Do you teach your pupils how to carve?"
"Please give us a lecture on carving; my husband says he will come if you will."
I have been so frequently addressed in this way that I have decided to publish a manual on the Art of Carving. Instruction in this art cannot be given at a lecture with any profit to my pupils or satisfaction to myself. One cannot learn by simply seeing a person carve a few times. As much as any other art, it requires study; and success is not attainable without much practice. There are certain rules which should be thoroughly understood; if followed faithfully in daily practice, they will help more than mere observation.
This manual is not offered as a guide for special occasions, company dinners, etc., nor for those whose experience renders it unnecessary, or whose means allow them to employ one skilled in the art. But it is earnestly hoped that the suggestions here offered will aid those who desire, at their own table in everyday home life, to acquire that ease Page 8 and perfection of manner which, however suddenly it may be confronted with obstacles, will be equal to every occasion.
Printed rules for carving are usually accompanied with cuts showing the position of the joint or fowl on the platter, and having lines indicating the method of cutting. But this will not be attempted in this manual, as such illustrations seldom prove helpful; for the actual thing before us bears faint resemblance to the pictures, which give us only the surface, with no hint of what may be inside.
It is comparatively a slight matter to carve a solid mass of lean meat. It is the bones, tough gristle, and tendons, that interfere with the easy progress of the knife. To expect any one to carve well without any conception of the internal structure of what may be placed before him is as absurd as to expect one to amputate a limb successfully who has no knowledge of human anatomy.
Some notion of the relative position of bones, joints, fat, tough and tender muscles, is the first requisite to good carving. All agree that skill in carving may be acquired by practice; and so it may. Any one can divide a joint if he cut and hack at it long enough, and so learn after a time just where to make the right cut. But a more satisfactory way is to make a careful study before the material is cooked, and thus learn the exact position of every joint, bone, and muscle. Become familiar with a shoulder or a leg of mutton; locate the joints by moving the bones in Page 9 the joints, or by cutting it into sections, some time when it is to be used for a stew. Or remove the bone in the leg by scraping the meat away at either end. Learn to distinguish the different cuts of meat. The best way to learn about carving poultry and game is to cut them up for a stew or fricassee, provided care be taken not to chop them, but to disjoint them skilfully.
Then, when you attempt to carve, do the best you can every time. Never allow yourself to be careless about it, even should the only spectators be your wife and children. But do not make your first effort in the art at a company dinner. Every lady should learn the art. There is no reason why she may not excel in it, as she has every opportunity to study the joint or fowl before cooking. Strength is not required, so much as neatness and care. A firm, steady hand, a cool, collected manner, and confidence in one's ability will help greatly. Children also should be taught this accomplishment, and should be taught it as soon as they can handle a knife safely. If parents would allow the children to share their duties at the daily family table, and occasionally when company is present, a graceful manner would soon be acquired. When called upon to preside over their own homes there would less frequently be heard the apology, "Father always carved at home, and I have had no practice." The only recollection that I now have of a dinner at a friend's some years ago is the easy and skilful way a young son of my hostess presided at the Page 10 head of the table, while the father occupied the place of guest at the mother's right hand.
One must learn first of all to carve neatly, without scattering crumbs or splashing gravy over the cloth or platter; also to cut straight, uniform slices. This may seem an easy matter; but do we often see pressed beef, tongue, or even bread cut as it should be? Be careful to divide the material in such a manner that each person may be served equally well. Have you never received all flank, or a hard dry wing, while another guest had all tenderloin, or the second joint? After a little experience you can easily distinguish between the choice portions and the inferior. Lay each portion on the plate with the browned or best side up. Keep it compact, not mussy; and serve a good portion of meat, not a bone with hardly any meat on it. After all are served, the portion on the platter should not be left jagged, rough, and sprawling, but should look inviting enough to tempt one to desire a second portion.
Care should be taken to carve in such a way as to get the best effect. A nice joint is often made less inviting from having been cut with the grain, while meat of rather poor quality is made more tender and palatable if divided across the grain. Where the whole of the joint is not required, learn to carve economically, that it may be left in good shape for another dinner.
After you have learned to do the simplest work neatly and gracefully, much painstaking will be Page 11 necessary in acquiring the power to accomplish with elegance the more difficult tasks. For to reach the highest degree of excellence in the art, one must be able to carve the most difficult joint with perfect skill and ease.
But after all this study and a great amount of practice failure often happens, and blame is laid upon the carver which really belongs to some other person,—the butcher, the cook, the table-girl, or the guest. Not all men who sell meat know or practice the best way of cutting up meat. Much may be done by the butcher and by the cook to facilitate the work of the carver. These helps will be noticed more particularly under the head of special dishes.
An essential aid to easy carving, and one often overlooked, is that the platter be large enough to hold not merely the joint or fowl while whole, but also the several portions as they are detached.
The joint should be placed in the middle of the platter, in the position indicated under special directions. There should be sufficient space on either side for the portions of meat as they are carved; that is, space on the bottom, none of the slices being allowed to hang over the edge of the dish. If necessary, provide an extra dish. The persistency with which some housekeepers cling to a small dish for fear the meat will look lost on a larger one often makes successful carving impossible.
The platter should be placed near the carver, that he may easily reach any part of the joint.
The carver may stand or sit, as suits his convenience. Anything that is done easily is generally done gracefully, but when one works at a disadvantage awkwardness is always the result.
A very important matter is the condition of the knife. It should have a handle easy to grasp, a long, thin, sharp, pointed blade, and be of a size adapted to the article to be carved and to the person using it. A lady or a child will prefer a small knife. Be as particular to have the knife sharp as to have it bright and clean; and always sharpen it before announcing the dinner. It is very annoying for a person to be obliged to wait and sharpen the knife, or to turn the meat round to get it into the right position. Never allow a carving-knife to be used to cut bread, or for any other than its legitimate purpose.
The fork should be strong, with long tines, and should have a guard.
Place the fork deep enough in the meat so that you can hold it firmly in position. Hold the knife and fork in an easy, natural way. Many persons grasp the fork as if it were a dagger, and stab it into the meat; but such a display of force is unnecessary and clownish. The hand should be over the handle of the fork, the palm down, and the forefinger extended.
Do not appear to make hard work of carving. Page 13 Avoid all scowling or contortion of the mouth if a difficult spot be touched. Don't let your countenance betray the toughness of the joint or your own lack of skill. Work slowly but skilfully, and thus avoid the danger of landing the joint in your neighbor's lap.
Do not be guilty of the discourtesy of asking each guest, before you begin to carve, to choose between roast lamb and warmed-over beef, or between pie and pudding, or whatever you may have, and thus cause a guest who may have chosen the lamb or the pie the discomfort of knowing that it has been cut solely for her. Such economy may be excusable in the privacy of one's own family, but not in the presence of invited guests. First divide or carve what you have to serve, and then offer the choice to your guests.
"To carve and serve decently and in good order" is indeed mainly the duty of the host; but there is sometimes an unfortunate lack of skill on the part of the hostess in her share of the serving. A certain pride is permitted to her, and is expected of her, in serving neatly her tea, coffee, and soup, in dividing appropriately her pies and puddings, and even in cutting and arranging deftly the bread upon her board.
A word to the guest, and then we will proceed to explicit directions.
Never stare at the carver. Remember you are invited to dine, not to take a lesson in carving. Appear perfectly unconscious of his efforts; a glance now and then will give you sufficient insight into his Page 14 method. There often seems to be an irresistible fascination about carving which silences all tongues and draws all eyes to the head of the table. The most skilful carver will sometimes fail if conscious of being watched. With a little tact the hostess can easily engage the attention of her guests, that the carver may not be annoyed.
Should your preference be asked, and you have any, name it at once, provided there is also enough for others who may prefer the same kind. Remember there are only two fillets, or side-bones, or second joints; if you are the first to be served, do not test the skill of the carver by preferring a portion difficult to obtain.
Many of these cautions may seem uncalled for, but they have been suggested by personal observation of their necessity. People of good breeding would never err in any of these ways; but alas, not all people are well bred, and innate selfishness often crops out in small matters.
The following explicit directions have not been taken from books. They were given to the writer a few years ago by one who was an adept in the art, who had received her instruction from a skilful surgeon, and who at her own table gave a practical demonstration of the fact that a lady can not only "carve decently and in good order," but with ease and elegance.
TIP OF THE SIRLOIN, OR RIB ROAST.
It is easier to carve this joint by cutting across the ribs, parallel with the backbone, but that is cutting with the grain; and meat, especially beef, seems more tender if cut across the grain.
Place it on the platter with the backbone at the right. If the backbones be not removed before cooking, place the fork in the middle and cut close to the backbone down to the ribs. Shave off the thick, gristly cord near the backbone, as this, if left on, interferes with cutting thin slices. Then cut, from the side nearest you, thin uniform slices parallel with the ribs. Run the knife under and separate them from the bone. Many prefer to remove the bone and skewer the meat into a roll before cooking. It may then be laid, flesh down, on the dish, and carved across the top horizontally in thin slices; or if you find it easier, place it with the skin surface up, and carve down from the flesh side nearest you.
This style of serving is generally preferred, but there are advantages in retaining the bone; for the thin end when rolled under is not cooked to such a Page 16 nice degree of crispness, and the slices are usually larger than desired. Again, the ribs, by keeping the meat in position, secure for it a clean cut, and not one broken and jagged, and the thin end may be served or not, as you please.
The backbone or thickest end should be at the right end of the dish.
Carve a sirloin roast by cutting several thin slices parallel with the ribs. Then cut down across the ribs near the backbone, and also at the flank end, and separate the slices.
The slices should be as thin as possible and yet remain slices, not shavings. Turn the meat over and cut out the tenderloin and slice it in the same manner across the grain; or turn the meat over and remove the tenderloin first. Many prefer to leave the tenderloin to be served cold. Cut slices of the crisp fat on the flank in the same way, and serve to those who wish it. This is a part which many dislike, but some persons consider it very choice. Always offer it unless you know the tastes of those whom you are serving.
THE BACK OF THE RUMP.
A roast from the back of the rump, if cooked without removing the bone,
should be placed on the platter with the backbone on the farther side.
Cut Page 17
first underneath to loosen the meat from the bone. Then, if the family be large and all the meat is to be used, the slices may be cut lengthwise; but should only a small quantity be needed, cut crosswise and only from the small end. It is then in better shape for the second day.
It is more economical to serve the poorer parts the first day, as they are never better than when hot and freshly cooked. Reserve the more tender meat to be served cold.
FILLET OF BEEF OR TENDERLOIN.
Before cooking, remove all the fat, and every fibre of the tough white membrane. Press it into shape again and lard it, or cover it with its own fat. If this fibre be not removed, the sharpest knife will fail to cut through it. Place it on the platter with the larger end at the right; or if two short fillets be used, place the thickest ends in the middle. Carve from the thickest part, in thin, uniform slices.
ROUND OF BEEF, FILLET OF VEAL, OR FRICANDEAU OF VEAL.
These are placed on the platter, flesh side up, and carved in horizontal slices, care being taken to carve evenly, so that the portion remaining may be in good shape. As the whole of the browned outside comes off with the first slices, divide this into small pieces, to be served if desired with the rare, juicy, inside slices.
It may seem needless to direct one how to carve a sirloin steak, but it sometimes appears to require more skill than to carve poultry, as those who have been so unfortunate as to receive only the flank can testify.
I believe most strongly, as a matter of economy, in removing the bone, and any tough membrane or gristle that will not be eaten, before cooking the steak. If there be a large portion of the flank, cook that in some other way. With a small, sharp knife cut close to the rib on each side, round the backbone, and remove the tough white membrane on the edge of the tenderloin. Leave the fat on the upper edge, and the kidney fat also, or a part of it, if it be very thick. There need be no waste or escape of juices if the cutting be done quickly, neatly, and just before cooking. Press the tenderloin—that is, the small portion on the under side of the bone—close to the upper part, that the shape may not be changed.
In serving place it on the dish with the tenderloin next to the carver. Cut in long narrow strips from the fat edge down through the tenderloin. Give each person a bit of tenderloin, upper part, and fat. If the bone be not removed before cooking, remove the tenderloin first by cutting close to the bone, and divide it into narrow pieces; then remove the meat from the upper side of the bone and cut in the same manner. A long, narrow strip about as wide as the steak is Page 19 thick is much more easily managed on one's plate than a square piece. Serve small portions, and then, if more be desired, help again.
In carving large rump steaks or round steaks, cut always across the grain, in narrow strips. Carving-knives are always sharper than table-knives, and should do the work of cutting the fibres of the meat; then the short fibres may easily be separated by one's own knife. There is a choice in the several muscles of a large rump steak, and it is quite an art to serve it equally.
LEG OF MUTTON OR LAMB, OR KNUCKLE OF VEAL.
Before cooking, remove the rump-bones at the larger end. For a small family it is more economical to remove all the bones and fill the cavity with stuffing. Tie or skewer it into compact shape; there is then less waste, as the meat that is not used at the first dinner does not become dry and hard by keeping.
In serving, the thickest part of the leg should be toward the back of the platter. Put the fork in at the top, turn the leg toward you to bring the thickest part up, and cut through to the bone. Cut several slices of medium thickness, toward the thickest part, then slip the knife under and cut them away from the bone. A choice bit of crisp fat may be found on the larger end, and there is a sweet morsel near the knuckle or lower joint. If more be required, slice from the under side of the bone in the same manner.
LEG OF VENISON.
This is carved in the same way as a leg of mutton,—through the thickest part down to the bone.
SADDLE OF MUTTON.
Remove the ends of the ribs and roll the flank under before cooking.
Place it on the platter with the tail end at the left. Put the fork in firmly near the centre, and carve down to the ribs in long slices, parallel with the backbone, and the whole length. Slip the knife under and separate the slices from the ribs; do the same on the other side of the back. Divide the slices if very long. Cut the crisp fat from the sides in slanting slices. Turn partly over and remove the choice bit of tenderloin and kidney fat under the ribs.
Carving a saddle of mutton in this way is really cutting with the grain of the meat, but it is the method adopted by the best authorities. It is only the choicest quality of mutton, and that which has been kept long enough to be very tender, that is prepared for cooking in this way. The fibres are not so tough as those of beef; there is no perceptible difference in the tenderness of the meat when cut in this manner, and there is an advantage in obtaining slices which are longer, and yet as thin as those from cutting across the grain.
SADDLE OF VENISON.
Carve the same as a saddle of mutton. Serve some of the dish gravy with each portion. Venison and mutton soon become chilled, the fat particularly, thus losing much of their delicacy. Send them to the table very hot, on hot platters; carve quickly, and serve at once on warm plates.
HAUNCH OF VENISON OR MUTTON.
This is the leg and loin undivided, or, as more commonly called, the hind quarter.
The butcher should split the whirl-bone, disjoint the backbone, and split the ribs in the flank. The rump-bone and aitch-bone may be removed before cooking. Place it on the platter with the loin or backbone nearest the carver. Separate the leg from the loin; this is a difficult joint to divide when the bones have not been removed, but it can be done with practice. When the leg has been taken off, carve that as directed on page19. Carve the loin by first cutting off the flank and dividing it, then divide between each rib in the loin, or cut long slices parallel with the backbone, in the same way as directed for a saddle of mutton. Some English authorities recommend cutting perpendicularly through the thickest part of the leg near the knuckle, and then cutting across at right angles with this first cut, in long thin slices, the entire length of the joint; the slices are Page 22 then separated from the bone and divided as desired. When carved in this way the loin and leg are not divided. This is not so economical as the first method.
LOIN OF MUTTON, LAMB, VEAL, PORK, OR VENISON.
These should always be divided at the joints in the backbone by the butcher; then it is an easy matter to separate the ribs, serving one to each person, with a portion of the kidney and fat if desired. But if the butcher neglect to do this, and you have no cleaver with which to do it, it is better to cut slices down to the ribs parallel with the backbone, as directed in the saddle of mutton, than to suffer the annoyance of hacking at the joints.
Before cooking a loin of pork, gash through the fat between the ribs; this will give more of the crisp fat, and will aid in separating the ribs.
SHOULDER OF MUTTON OR VEAL.
Place it on the platter with the thickest part up. From the thickest part cut thin slices, slanting down to the knuckle; then make several cuts across to the larger end, and remove these slices from the shoulder-blade. Separate the blade at the shoulder-joint, and remove it. Cut the meat under the blade in perpendicular slices.
FOREQUARTER OF LAMB OR VEAL.
This is a difficult joint for a beginner, but after a little study and practice one may manipulate it with dexterity. Some time when a lamb stew or fricassee is to be prepared, study the joint carefully and practice cutting it up, and thus become familiar with the position of the shoulder-blade joint,—the only one difficult to reach. The backbone should always be disjointed. The ribs should be divided across the breast and at the junction of the breast-bone, and the butcher should also remove the shoulder-blade and the bone in the leg. Unless the joint be very young and tender, it is better to use the breast portion for a stew or fricassee; but when nice and tender the breast may be roasted with the other portions, as the choice gelatinous morsels near the breast-bones are preferred by many. This joint consists of three portions,—the shoulder or knuckle, the breast or brisket, and the ribs. Put it on the platter with the backbone up. Put the fork in near the knuckle. Cut through the flesh clear round the leg and well up on the shoulder, but not too far on the breast. With the fork lift the leg away from the shoulder, cutting in till you come to the joint, after separating which, remove the leg to Page 24 a separate dish, to be afterward cut into thin slices through the thickest part. Cut across from left to right where the ribs have been broken, separating the gristly breast from the upper portion. Then remove the blade if it has not been done before cooking. Divide each of these portions between the ribs, and serve a piece of the rib, the breast, or a slice from the leg, as preferred.
NECK OF VEAL.
The vertebra should be disjointed, and the ribs cut on the inside through the bone only, on the thin end. Place it on the platter with the back up and cut across from left to right, where the ribs were divided, separating the small ends of the ribs from the thicker upper portion; then cut between each short rib. Carve from the back down in slanting slices, then slip the knife under close to the ribs and remove the slices. This gives a larger portion than the cutting of the slices straight would give, and yet not so large as if each were helped to a whole rib. Serve a short rib with each slice.
BREAST OF VEAL.
Place it on the dish with the breast-bone or brisket nearest you. Cut off the gristly brisket, then separate it into sections. Cut the upper part parallel with the ribs, or between each rib if very small. Slice the sweetbread, and serve a portion of brisket, rib, and sweetbread to each person.
Calf's head served whole is a favorite dish in England, but seldom seen on American tables. For those who have this preference a few hints about carving may be desirable. Place it on the platter with the face toward the right. Cut from left to right, through the middle of the cheek down to the bone, in several parallel slices of medium thickness; then separate them from the bone. Cut down at the back of the throat and slice the throat sweetbread. With the point of the knife cut out the gelatinous portion near the eye, and serve to those who desire it. There is a small portion of delicate lean meat to be found after removing the jawbone. Some are fond of the palate, which lies under the head. The tongue should be sliced, and a portion of this and of the brains offered to each person.
This is sometimes partly divided before serving. Cut off the head and divide it through the middle; then divide through the backbone. Place it on the platter back to back, with half the head on each end of the dish.
If the pig be very young, it is in better style to serve it whole. Before cooking, truss the forelegs forward and the hind legs backward. Place the pig on the platter with the head at the left. Cut off the head, separating the neck-joint with the point of the knife, Page 26 then cut through the flesh on either side. Take off the shoulders by cutting in a circle from under the foreleg round nearly to the backbone and down again. Bend it forward and cut through the joint. Cut off the hams in the same way. Then split the backbone the entire length and divide between each rib. Cut slices from the thickest part of the hams and the shoulders. The ribs are the choice portion, but those who like it at all consider any part of it a delicacy.
If the ham is not to be served whole, the simplest and most economical way is to begin near the smaller end and cut in very thin slices, on each side of the bone. Divide the slices and arrange them neatly on the dish, one lapping over another, with the fat edge outside.
Where the whole ham is to appear on the table it should be trimmed neatly, and the end of the bone covered with a paper ruffle. The thickest part should be on the further side of the platter. Make an incision through the thickest part, a little way from the smaller end. Shave off in very thin slices, cutting toward the larger end and down to the bone at every slice. The knife should be very sharp to make a clean cut, and each slice should have a portion of the fat with the crisp crust. To serve it hot a second day, fill the cavity with a bread stuffing, cover it with buttered crumbs, and brown it in the oven. If it is Page 27 to be served cold, brown the crumbs first and then sprinkle them over the stuffing. If this be done the edges will not dry and the symmetry of the ham is preserved. Carve as before, toward the larger end, and if more be needed, cut also from the other side of the bone.
By filling the cavity again with stuffing, a ham may be served as a whole one the third time and look as inviting as when first served. Should there be two or three inches of the thickest end left for another serving, saw off the bone, lay the meat flesh side up, with the fat on the further side of the platter, and carve horizontally in thin slices.
The centre of the tongue is the choicest portion. Cut across in slices as thin as a wafer. The tip of the tongue is more delicate when cut lengthwise in thin slices, though this is not the usual practice.
Corned beef should be put while hot into a pan or mould, in layers of fat and lean, with the fibres running the long way of the pan. After pressing it, place it on the platter and slice thinly from one end. This gives uniform slices, cut across the grain, each one having a fair proportion of fat and lean.
CHARTREUSE, OR PRESSED MEAT.
Any moulds of meat, either plain or in jelly or rice, should be cut from one end, or in the middle and toward either end, in uniform slices, the thickness varying with the kind of meat. Be careful not to break them in serving. If only a part of a slice be desired, divide it neatly. Help also to the rice or jelly.
TO CUT UP A CHICKEN FOR A STEW OR FRICASSEE.
Nothing is more unsightly and unappetizing than a portion of chicken with the bones chopped at all sorts of angles, and with splinters of bone in the meat. All bones will separate easily at the joint when the cord or tendon and gristly portion connecting them have been cut.
After the chicken has been singed and wiped, and the crop removed from the end of the neck, place it in front of you with the breast up and the neck at the left. With a small sharp knife make an incision in the thin skin between the inside of the legs and the body. Cut through the skin only, down toward the right side of the leg, and then on the left. Bend the leg over toward you, and you will see where the flesh joins the body and also where the joint is, for the bone will move in the joint. Cut through the flesh close to the body, first on the right of the joint and then on the left, and as you bend the leg over, Page 29 cut the cord and gristle in the joint, and this will free the leg from the body. Find the joint in the leg and divide it neatly. Work the wing until you see where the joint is, then cut through the flesh on the shoulder, bend the wing up and cut down through the gristle and cord. Make a straight clean cut, leaving no jagged edges. Divide the wing in the joint, and then remove the leg and wing from the opposite side, and divide in the same way. Make an incision in the skin near the vent, cut through the membrane lying between the breast and the tail down to the backbone on each side, remove the entrails, and break off the backbone just below the ribs. Separate the side-bones from the back by cutting close to the backbone from one end to the other on each side. This is a little difficult to do; and in your first experiment it would be better not to divide it until after boiling it, as it separates more easily after the connecting gristle has been softened by cooking. Take off the neck close to the back by cutting through the flesh and twisting or wringing it until the bone is disjointed.
Cut off the wish-bone in a slanting direction from the front of the breast-bone down to the shoulder on each side. Cut through the cartilage between the end of the collar-bone and the breast. Cut between the end of the shoulder-blade and the back down toward the wing-joint, turn the blade over toward the neck, and cut through the joint.
This joint in the wing, collar-bone, and shoulder-Page 30 blade is the hardest to separate. Remove the breast from the back by cutting through the cartilage connecting the ribs; this can be seen from the inside. The breast should be left whole and the bone removed after stewing; but if the chicken is to be fried you may remove the bone first.
It is not necessary in boiling a chicken to divide it so minutely, for the wings and legs can be disjointed, and the side-bones and breast separated from the back more easily after cooking; but it is valuable practice, and if one learns to do it neatly it will help in carving a boiled fowl or roast turkey.
In arranging a fricasseed chicken on the platter, put the neck and ribs at the left end of the dish and the backbone at the right end. Put the breast over the ribs, arrange the wings on each side of the breast, the second joints next to the side-bones, and cross the ends of the drumsticks over the tail.
BOILED FOWL OR TURKEY.
Fowls or turkeys for boiling should be trussed with the ends of the legs drawn into the body through a slit in the skin, and kept in place with a small skewer. Turn the tip of the wing over on the back. Cut off the neck, not the skin, close to the body, and after putting in the stuffing, fasten the skin of the neck to the back. Put strips of cloth round it, or pin it in a cloth, to keep it white and preserve the shape.
In carving, place it on the platter with the head at the left. Put the fork in firmly across the breast-Page 31 bone. With the point of the knife cut through the skin near the tail, and lift the legs out from the inside. Then cut through the skin between the legs and body, bend the leg over, and cut across through the joint. Cut from the top of the shoulder down toward the body until the wing-joint is exposed, then cut through this, separating the wing from the body. Remove the leg and wing from the other side. Shave off a thin slice on the end of the breast toward each wing-joint, slip the knife under at the top of the breast-bone, and turn back the wish-bone.
Capons and large fowls may be sliced thinly across the breast in the same manner as a roast turkey. But if the fowl be small, draw the knife along the edge of the breast-bone on each side, and lay the meat away from the bone; the fillets will separate easily. Then divide the meat across the grain. Separate the collar-bone from the breast. Slip the knife under the shoulder-blade, turn it over, and separate at the joint. Cut through the cartilage connecting the ribs; this will separate the breast from the back. Now remove the fork from the breast, turn the back over, place the knife midway, and with the fork lift up the tail end, separating the back from the body. Place the fork in the middle of the backbone, cut close to the backbone from one end to the other on each side, freeing the side-bones.
The wing and breast of a boiled fowl are the favorite portions. It is important that the fowl be cooked just right. If underdone, the joints will not separate Page 32 readily; and if overdone they will fall apart so quickly that carving is impossible. Unless the knife be very sharp, and the work done carefully, the skin of the breast will come off with the leg or wing.
Split the chicken down the back and remove the backbone. If the chicken be very young and tender—and only such are suitable for broiling—remove the breast-bone before cooking, or cut the bone through the middle, lengthwise and crosswise from the inside, without cutting into the meat. In serving, divide through the breast from the neck down, and serve half to each person; or if a smaller portion be desired, divide each half crosswise through the breast, leaving the wing on one part and the leg on the other.
If the chicken be large, break the joints of the legs, thighs, and wings, without breaking through the skin; cut the tendons on the thighs from the inside, cut the membrane on the inside of the collar-bone and wing-joint, and remove the breast-bone. This may all be done before cooking, and will not injure the appearance of the outside.
In serving, separate the legs and wings at the joints, then separate the breast from the lower part, and divide the breast lengthwise and crosswise.
Carving-scissors are convenient for cutting any kind of broiled game or poultry.
Turkeys should be carefully trussed. The wings and thighs should be brought close to the body and kept in position by skewers. The ends of the drumsticks may be drawn into the body or crossed over the tail and tied firmly.
After cooking, free the ends of the drumsticks from the body and trim them with a paper ruffle. This will enable the carver to touch them if necessary without soiling his hands. Place the turkey on the platter with the head at the left. Unless the platter be very large, provide an extra dish, also a fork for serving.
Insert the carving-fork across the middle of the breast-bone. Cut through the skin between the breast and the thigh. Bend the leg over, and cut off close to the body and through the joint. Cut through the top of the shoulder down through the wing-joint. Shave off the breast in thin slices, slanting from the front of the breast-bone down toward the wing-joint.
If the family be small and the turkey is to be served for a second dinner, carve only from the side nearest you. Tip the bird over slightly, and with the point of the knife remove the oyster and the small dark portion found on the side-bone. Then remove the fork from the breast and divide the leg and wing. Cut through the skin between the body and breast, and with a spoon remove a portion of the stuffing. Serve light or dark meat and stuffing, as preferred. If carved in Page 34 this way, the turkey will be left with one half entire, and if placed on a clean platter with the cut side nearest the carver, and garnished with parsley, will present nearly as fine an appearance, to all but the carver, as when first served.
When there are many to be served, take off the leg and wing from each side and slice the whole of the breast before removing the fork; then divide as required.
It is not often necessary to cut up the whole body of the turkey; but where every scrap of the meat will be needed, or you wish to exercise your skill, proceed to carve in this manner.
Put the fork in firmly across the middle of the breast-bone. Cut through the skin between the leg and body. Bend the leg over and cut off at the joint. If the turkey be very tender or overcooked, the side-bone will separate from the back and come away with the second joint, making it more difficult to separate the thigh from the side-bone. Cut through the top of the shoulder and separate the wing at the joint. Cut off the leg and wing from the other side. Carve the breast on each side, in thin slices, slanting slightly toward the wing. Be careful to take a portion of crisp outside with each slice. Shave off the crisp skin near the neck, in order to reach the stuffing. Insert the point of the knife at the front of the breast-bone, turn back the wish-bone and separate it. Cut through the cartilage on each side, separating the collar-bones from the breast. Tip the body slightly over and slip the Page 35 knife under the end of the shoulder-blade; turn it over toward the wing. Repeat this process on the opposite side. Cut through the cartilage which divides the ribs, separating the breast-bone from the back. Lay the breast one side and remove the fork from it. Take the stuffing from the back. Turn the back over, place the knife midway just below the ribs, and with the fork lift up the tail end, separating the back from the body. Place the fork in the middle of the backbone, and cut close to the backbone from one end to the other, on each side, freeing the side-bone. Then divide the legs and wings at the joints. The joint in the leg is not quite in the middle of the bend, but a trifle nearer the thigh. It requires some practice to strike these joints in the right spot. Cut off the meat from each side of the bone in the second joint and leg, as these when large are more than one person requires, and it is inconvenient to have so large bones on one's plate.
It is easier to finish the carving before beginning to serve. An expert carver will have the whole bird disjointed and literally in pieces with a very few strokes of the knife.
A green goose neatly trussed and "done to a turn" looks very tempting on the platter; but there is so little meat in proportion to the size of the bird that unless it be skilfully carved only a small number can be served. The breast of a goose is broader and Page 36 flatter than that of a turkey. It should be carved in a different manner, although many writers give the same directions for carving both.
Place it on the platter with the head at the left. Insert the fork firmly across the ridge of the breast-bone. Begin at the wing and cut down through the meat to the bone, the whole length of the breast. Cut down in the same way in parallel slices, as thin as can be cut, until you come to the ridge of the breast-bone. Slip the knife under the meat at the end of the breast, and remove the slices from the bone. Cut in the same manner on the other side of the breast. Cut through the skin below the breast, insert a spoon and help to the stuffing. If more be required, cut the wing off at the joint. Then tip the body over slightly and cut off the leg. This thigh-joint is tougher, and requires more skill in separating, than the second joint of a turkey. It lies nearer the backbone. But practice and familiarity with its location will enable one to strike it accurately. The wish-bone, shoulder-blade, and collar-bone may be removed according to the directions given for carving roast turkey. Some prefer to remove the wing and leg before slicing the breast.
Place it in the same position and carve in the same way as a goose.
Begin at the wing, and cut down to the bone in long thin slices, parallel with the breast-bone; then Page 37 remove them from the bone. The breast is the favorite portion; but the "wing of a flyer and the leg of a swimmer" are esteemed by epicures.
The stuffing is not often desired, but if so it may be found by cutting across below the end of the breast.
Geese and ducks are seldom entirely cut up at the table, as there is very little meat on the back. But often from a seemingly bare carcass enough may be obtained to make a savory entrée.
These, if small, are served whole. If large, cut through the middle from the neck to the end of the breast and down through the backbone. The bones are thin, and may easily be divided with a sharp knife. When smaller portions are required, cut from the shoulder down below the leg, separating the wing and leg from the body.
Cut through above the joint of the wing, down below the leg, and remove the wing and leg in one portion. Cut under the breast from the lower end through the ribs to the neck and remove the breast entire. Then divide it through the middle, and, if very plump, divide again. When very small they may be divided through the breast and back into two equal parts.
Turn the legs over and free them from the body. Cut slices down to the bone the entire length of the breast; then slip the knife under and remove the slices. Cut off the wing and leg, and separate the backbone from the body. There are some morsels on the back which are considered choice by those who like the peculiar flavor of this game. As this is a dry meat, help generously to the bread sauce which should always accompany it.
Where this is the principal dish, or where a larger portion is required, divide it through the breast, as directed for small pigeons.
Woodcock, Snipe, and other Small Birds are usually served whole. But if only a portion be desired, divide them through the breast.
A rabbit should be trussed, with the forelegs turned toward the back, and the hind legs forward. Place it on the platter with the back up and head at the left. Remove the shoulders by cutting round between them and the body, carrying the knife up nearly to the backbone. Turn them back and cut through the joint. Remove the hind legs in the same manner. Then place the fork in the middle of the back and cut several slices from each side of the loin parallel with the backbone. The loin is the choicest part.
SWEETBREADS, CHOPS, AND CUTLETS.
These are not divided, one being served to each person.
A broad silver knife should be used in serving fish. Serve as little of the bone as possible, and be careful not to break the flakes.
Halibut or Salmon. A middle cut, or thick piece, of halibut or salmon should be placed on the platter with the skin surface up and the back toward the farther side of the dish. Carve in thick slices down to the bone, slip the knife under and remove them. Then remove the bone, and serve the lower portion in the same manner.
A thin slice of halibut should be laid on the platter with the flesh side up. Cut next to the bone on each side, divide the fish as required, and leave the bone on the platter.
Mackerel, White-fish, etc. These and other thin fish for broiling should be split down the back before cooking. In serving, divide through the middle lengthwise, and then divide each half into such portions as may be desired. Be careful not to break or crumble them.
Smelts, Perch, and other small pan-fish are served whole. They should be arranged on the dish with heads and tails alternating, or in a circle round a silver cup placed in the centre of the platter and Page 40 holding the sauce. Or, place two or three on a silver skewer, and serve a skewerful to each person.
Small slices and rolled fillets of fish are not divided.
Cod, Haddock, Cusk, Blue-fish, Shad, Small Salmon, and Bass. These when served whole may be carved in a more satisfactory manner if before cooking they are prepared according to the following directions:
Stuff them and place them upright in the pan instead of on one side. Fish that are broad and short like shad may be kept in place by propping with stale bread or pared potatoes; but others that are narrow in proportion to the length may be skewered or tied into the shape of the letter S.
Thread a trussing needle with strong twine, run it through the head and fasten it there; then bend the head round and draw the needle through the middle of the body. Bend the tail in the opposite direction, run the needle through near the tail, draw the string tightly and fasten it. Gash the skin two inches apart on each side. Fish thus prepared will retain its shape until served.
Place it on the platter with the head at the left and the outward curve on the farther side of the dish. Make an incision along each side of the backbone the entire length of the fish. Then cut through the gashes on the side nearest you and lay each portion away from the bone. Then remove the fish on the Page 41 farther side of the bone. Raise the bone to reach the stuffing, and serve a little of the fish, stuffing, and sauce to each person. The skeleton should be left entire on the platter.
If the fish has been baked in the usual way and placed on the platter on its side, cut across through to the backbone, but not through it, and serve, apportioning as may be desired. Slip the knife under and remove the portion from the bone. When the fish is all removed from the top, remove the backbone, and then divide the lower portion.
SCALLOPED DISHES, MEAT PIES, ENTRÉES, ETC.
Meats and fish which have the sauce on the same dish require special care in serving, that they may present a neat rather than a sloppy appearance on the plate. A drop of gravy on the edge of the plate will offend a fastidious taste.
Scalloped Dishes, or anything with a crust of crumbs, should be served with a spoon.
Meat Pies, with a pastry crust, require a broad knife and spoon. Put the portion on the plate neatly, with the crust or browned side up.
Poached Eggs, Quails, and other Meats on Toast. A broad knife should be used in helping to these dishes. Take up the toast carefully, and lay it on the plate without displacing the egg or bird.
The most tasteful way of arranging meat-salads or fish-salads is with whole, fresh, lettuce-leaves. Put two or more leaves together on the platter, and in the nest or dish thus made lay a spoonful of the salad, with the Mayonnaise on the top. In serving, slip the spoon or broad knife under the leaves and keep them in place with the fork. Put the salad on the plate carefully, in the same position, not tipped over. Or you may have a border of fresh lettuce-leaves in the salad-dish. With the fork lay one or two leaves on the plate, and then put a spoonful of salad on the leaves. In this way each person has the Mayonnaise on the top; the lettuce is underneath and fresh and crisp, instead of wilted, as it would be if all of it were mixed with the salad.
In serving vegetables, take up a neat, rounding spoonful. Lay them on the bottom of the plate, not on the rim or edge. Where there are several kinds, do not let them touch each other on the plate.
Serve, on separate dishes, fritters with a sweet sauce, peas, tomatoes, or any vegetable with much liquid.
Asparagus on Toast is a dish that one often sees served very awkwardly. Use a square or rectangular platter rather than one narrow at the ends.
The bread for the toast should be cut long and narrow, rather than square, and should be laid, not Page 43 lengthwise, but across the platter. Lay the asparagus in the same direction, the tips all at the farther side. Put the knife, which should be broad and long, under the toast, and keep the asparagus in place with the fork. You will find it much easier to serve than when arranged in the usual way.
Macaroni as often prepared is another dish which it is not easy to serve neatly. Always break or cut it into pieces less than two inches long, before cooking, or before it is sent to the table.
In serving sweet corn on the cob, provide finger-bowls, or a small doily to use in holding the ear of corn.
One ladleful of soup is sufficient for each plate. It is quite an art to take up a ladleful and pour it into the soup-plate without dropping any on the edge of the tureen or plate, and it requires a steady hand to pass the plate without slopping the soup up on the rim. Dip the ladle into the soup, take it up, and when the drop has fallen from the bottom of it, lift it over quickly but empty it slowly.
Croûtons and crackers lose their crispness if put into the tureen with the soup, and should therefore be passed separately.
TEA AND COFFEE.
Much has been written on the importance of serving neatly the various drinks for an invalid. But careful Page 44 service is equally essential at the daily home table. It is mistaken generosity to fill the cup so full that when sugar and cream are added, the liquid will spill over into the saucer. One should never be compelled to clean the bottom of the cup on the edge of the saucer, or on the napkin, to keep the liquid from dripping on the cloth.
In serving tea and coffee, ascertain the tastes of those at the table as to sugar and cream. Put the cream and sugar in the cup, and an extra block of sugar in the saucer; pour in the liquid until the cup is three fourths full. Where there are no servants to wait on the table, this way makes less confusion than to pass the sugar and cream to each person.
Always provide a pitcher of boiling hot water and a slop-bowl. In cold weather, pour hot water into the cups to warm them; then turn it into the bowl. In serving a second time, rinse the inside of the cup with hot water before filling.
It was formerly considered necessary to divide a pie with mathematical exactness into quarters or sixths. A better way is to cut out one piece of the usual size and offer it, and then if less be desired, cut off such portions as may be needed.
In serving a pie, always use a fork with the knife.
Pies with no undercrust are more easily served with a broad knife or a triangular knife made expressly Page 45 for pies. For serving berry and juicy fruit pies, a spoon also may be needed. Where two or three kinds are served, help to very small portions of each, even if it be at a Thanksgiving dinner.
It is presuming on the capacity of the common-sized plate, and it is an insult to the human stomach, to offer any one three sixths of a pie after a dinner of the usual courses.
Hot puddings of a soft consistency should be served with a spoon; sometimes a fork also is needed. With the edge of the spoon cut through the brown crust in a semicircle, slip the spoon under, and take up a spoonful; slip it off on the plate, leaving it right side up.
Take special case to serve temptingly anything with a meringue.
MOULDS OF PUDDING, CREAMS, CHARLOTTE RUSSE, ICE-CREAM, ETC.
Anything stiff enough to be moulded should be cut in slices from three fourths of an inch to an inch thick; the wider slices in oval-shaped moulds may be divided through the middle. A broad silver knife with a raised edge is very convenient to use in serving Bavarian Cream, Ice-Creams, and Charlottes.
FRUIT AND NUTS.
A pair of grape scissors should be laid on the fruit-dish to use in dividing large bunches of grapes or raisins; but a nut-cracker is too suggestive of hotel life to be acceptable on the home table. Crack the nuts before they are sent to the table. Salt should be served with the nuts.
Pass oranges, apples, pears, peaches, and bananas in the fruit-dish, to allow each person the opportunity of choice.
Watermelon. Before serving, cut a slice from each end. Make incisions through the middle in the form of the letter V, separate the parts, and place each in an upright position. Cut through the divisions, and serve one section to each person.
Cantaloupes, if small, are sometimes served cut in halves. If large, divide from end to end in nature's lines of depression.
THE THICKNESS OF SLICES.
By "very thin slices of meat" we mean slices less than an eighth of an inch thick.
"Thin slices" are from one eighth of an inch to three sixteenths of an inch in thickness.
Slices of "medium thickness" are one quarter of an inch.
Bread for dinner should be cut in slices one inch and a half thick, and each slice should be divided across into three or four long pieces, according to the width of the slice.
For tea, cut slices three eighths of an inch thick, and for toast, one quarter of an inch.
Thick loaves of cake should be cut in slices from three fourths of an inch to an inch thick, and divided once. Cut loaves of medium thickness in pieces as broad as the cake is thick, and divide them once. Thin sheets of cake should be cut in rectangular pieces twice as broad as the cake is thick. Then divide once, or even twice, if the sheet be very wide. Layer cakes baked in round pans are usually divided into triangular pieces; but they are less suggestive of baker's Washington pie, which is so offensively common, if the edges be trimmed in such a way as to leave a square. Then cut this square into smaller squares or rectangles.
UTENSILS FOR CARVING AND SERVING.
In any first-class cutlery store you will find knives for each special kind of carving. If your purse will permit the indulgence, it will be convenient to have a breakfast-carver, a slicer, a jointer, a game-carver, and a pair of game-scissors. But if you can afford to have only one, you will find a medium-sized meat-carver the knife best adapted to all varieties of carving. The blade should be about nine inches long and one inch and a quarter wide, slightly curved, and tapering to a point.
The fork should have two slender curving tines about three eighths of an inch apart and two and a half inches long, and should have a guard.
A breakfast or steak carver is of the same general shape, but the handle is smaller, and the blade is six or seven inches long. A slicer for roasts has a wide, straight blade, twelve inches long, and rounded instead of pointed at the end. This is especially convenient for carving thin slices from any large roasts, or other varieties of solid meat. The width of the blade helps to steady the meat, and its great length enables one to cut with a single, long, smooth stroke through the entire surface. With a knife having a short blade a sort of sawing motion would be made, and the slice would be jagged. As there are no joints to separate, a point on the blade is unnecessary.
A jointer is another form of carver, useful where Page 49 the joints are so large or so difficult to separate that considerable strength is required. The handle has a crook or guard on the end to enable the carver to grasp it more securely and use all the strength necessary.
A game-carver has a small, narrow, pointed blade; but the shape and length of the handle is the distinguishing feature. The handle should be long enough to reach from the tip of the forefinger to an inch beyond the back side of the hand, so that the edge of the hand about an inch above the wrist rests against the handle of the carver. In dividing a difficult joint, the manipulation should be made, not by turning the hand, but by turning the knife with the fingers. In this way the position of the point of the blade can be more easily changed as the joint may require. The handle of the carving-knife supports the hand of the carver.
Game-scissors have handles like scissors; the two short blades are quite deeply curved, something like the blade of a pruning-knife, making the cutting-power greater. This enables the person using them to cut through quite large bones in tough joints which would otherwise be quite difficult to separate.
Another form of jointer has two blades, one shorter than the other, and a round handle divided the entire length, with a spring in the end next the blade. When the handle is closed, the blades are together and the outer edge of the longer blade is used like a knife for cutting the meat. By opening the handle Page 50 the curving edges of the blades are used like scissors for cutting the bones.
There are various styles of steels or knife-sharpeners, but the one now in my possession is the best I have ever seen.
It is a four-sided bar of steel, about three eighths of an inch wide and thick, and eight inches long, having the four sides deeply grooved, thus making the edges very prominent. These edges are so sharp that but little pressure of the knife on the steel is required. The handle has a large guard to protect the left hand from the edge of the blade.
But few people know how to use a steel properly. It is difficult to describe the process,—so easy to a natural mechanic and so awkward to others,—or to instruct one in the knack of it, by mere description. Hold the steel firmly in the left hand. Let the edge of the knife near the handle rest on the steel, the back of the knife raised slightly at an angle of about 30°. Draw the knife along lightly but steadily, always at the same angle, the entire length of the blade. Then pass the knife under the steel and draw the other surface along the opposite edge of the steel, from the handle to the point, at the same angle. Repeat these alternate motions the entire length of the blade, not on the point merely, until you have an edge.
Some persons prefer to turn the knife over, drawing it first from the left hand and then toward it, sharpening each surface alternately on the same edge of the steel. This is more difficult to do, as you cannot Page 51 so surely keep the blade at the same angle,—and this is the most important point. If held at any other than the proper angle, either no edge is made, or it is taken off as soon as obtained.
It is bewildering, if one has any intention of buying, to examine the assortment of spoons, knives, forks, etc., displayed at the silversmith's.
There are ladles for soups, sauces, gravy, and cream; shovels for sugar and salt, and scoops for cheese; tongs for sugar, pickles, olives, and asparagus; spoons for sugar, jelly, fruit, sauces, salads, vegetables, and macaroni; slicers for ice-cream, cake, and jelly; knives for fish, pie, cake, and fruit; forks for fish, oysters, pickles, olives, salad, and asparagus; scissors for grapes and raisins; crackers and picks for nuts; and rests for the carving knife and fork. Some of these are really useful; some as little so as many of the hundred and one novelties designed particularly for wedding gifts. But in neat and careful serving it is essential to have a soup-ladle, a gravy or sauce ladle, a pair of tongs or shells for block sugar, a slender-tined silver fork for pickles, a plentiful supply of large and medium-sized spoons, a carving-rest, a crumb-scraper, and at least one broad silver knife and fork, which if occasion requires may do duty at several courses.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST.
In offering a second portion of anything do not remind one that he has already been helped.
"Can't I give you another piece of meat or pie?" "Won't you have some more tea or pudding?" Expressions like these are frequently heard.
It is in far better taste to say, "Will you have some hot coffee?" "May I give you some of the salad?" "Let me help you to this choice portion."
We trust none of our readers will regard this suggestion as trivial. For, concerning kindness, we know that perfection is no trifle. It is the essence of that second commandment which we are divinely told is like "the first of all the commandments;" and it cannot be attained without assiduous attention to all the minor words and the common acts of life.
"Mrs. Lincoln, nothing daunted by the legion of cook-books already in existence, thinks there is room for one more. Her handsome and serviceable-looking volume seems to contain everything essential to a complete understanding of the culinary art. The Introduction of thirty-five pages discusses such subjects as cooking in general, fire, fuel, management of a stove, the various processes of boiling, stewing, baking, frying, roasting, and broiling, with full explanation of the chemical theory underlying each and distinguishing them; also hints on measuring and mixing, with tables of weights, measures, and proportions; of time in cooking various articles, and of average cost of material. One who can learn nothing from this very instructive Introduction must be well-informed indeed. Following this comes an elaborate and exhaustive chapter on bread-making in all its steps and phases. To this important topic some seventy pages are devoted. And so on through the whole range of viands. Exactness, plainness, thoroughness, seem to characterize all the author's teachings. No point is neglected, and directions are given for both necessary and luxurious dishes. There are chapters on cooking for invalids, the dining-room, care of kitchen utensils, etc. There is also a valuable outline of study for teachers taking up the chemical properties of food, and the physiological functions of digestion, absorption, nutrition, etc. Add the miscellaneous questions for examination, the topics and illustrations for lectures on cookery, list of utensils needed in a cooking-school, an explanation of foreign terms used in cookery, a classified and an alphabetical index,—and you have what must be considered as complete a work of its kind as has yet appeared."—Mirror, Springfield, Ill.
Page 54 "In answer to the question, 'What does cookery mean?' Mr. Ruskin says: 'It means the knowledge of Circe and Medea, and of Calypso and of Helen, and of Rebekah and of all the Queens of Sheba. It means knowledge of all fruits and balms and spices, and of all that is healing and sweet in fields and groves, and savory to meals; it means carefulness and inventiveness, and readiness of appliances; it means the economy of your great-grandmothers and the science of modern chemistry; it means much tasting and no wasting; it means English thoroughness, and French art, and American hospitality.' It is not extravagant to say that as far as these mythological, biblical, and practical requirements can be met by one weak woman, they are met by Mrs. Lincoln. And to the varied and extensive range of knowledge she adds an acquaintance with Milton and with Confucius, as shown by the apt quotations on her titlepage. The book is intended to satisfy the needs and wants of the experienced housekeeper, the tyro, and of the teacher in a cooking-school. In its receipts, in its tables of time and proportion, in its clear and minute directions about every detail of kitchen and dining-room, it has left unanswered few questions which may suggest themselves to the most or the least intelligent."—The Nation.
"Mrs. Lincoln's 'Boston Cook-Book' is no mere amateur compilation, much less an omnium gatherum of receipts. Its title does scant justice to it, for it is not so much a cook-book as a dietetic and culinary cyclopædia. Mrs. Lincoln is a lady of culture and practical tastes, who has made the fine art of cuisine the subject of professional study and teaching. In this book she has shown her literary skill and intelligence, as well as her expertness as a practical cook and teacher of cookery. It is full of interest and instruction for any one, though one should never handle a skillet or know the feeling of dough. Nothing in the way of explanation is left unsaid. And for a young housekeeper, it is a complete outfit for the culinary department of her duties and domain. There are many excellent side-hints as to the nature, history, and hygiene of food, which are not often found in such books; and the Indexes are of the completest and most useful kind. We find ourselves quite enthusiastic over the work, and feel like saying to the accomplished authoress, 'Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.'"—Rev. Dr. Zabriskie, in Christian Intelligencer.
"Among all the cook-books, Mrs. D.A. Lincoln's 'Boston Cook-Book' will certainly take its place as one of the very best. It is published and arranged in a very convenient and attractive form, and the style in which it is written has a certain literary quality which will tempt those who are not interested in recipes and cooking to peruse its pages. The recipes are practical, and give just those facts which are generally omitted from books of this sort, to the discouragement of the housekeeper, and frequently to the lamentable disaster and failure of her plans. Mrs. Lincoln has laid a large number of people under obligation, and puts into her book a large amount of general experience in the difficult and delicate art of cooking. The book is admirably arranged, and is supplied with the most perfect indexes we have ever seen in any work of the kind"—The Christian Union.
"Mrs. Lincoln has written a cook-book; really written one, not made merely a compilation of receipts,—that sort of mechanical work any one can do who has patience enough to search for the rules, and system enough to arrange them. Mrs. Lincoln's book is written out of the experience of life, both as a housekeeper and a teacher. Her long experience as principal of the Boston Cooking-School has enabled her to find out just what it is that people most want and need to know. I have no Page 55 hesitation in recommending Mrs. Lincoln's as the best cook-book, in all respects, of any I have seen. It is exactly fitted for use as a family authority, in that it is the work, not of a theorizer, but of a woman who knows what she is talking about. It is the very common-sense of the science of cookery."—Extracts from Sallie Joy White's letters in Philadelphia and Portland papers.
"Mrs. Lincoln's 'Boston Cook-Book' is a characteristically American, not to say Yankee, production. Boston productions are nothing if not profound, and even this cookery manual must begin with a definition, a pinch of philology, and the culinary chemistry of heat, cold, water, air, and drying.... But a touch of the blue-stocking has never been harmful to cookery. This book is as deft as it is fundamental. It is so perfectly and generously up to everything culinary, that it cannot help spilling over a little into sciences and philosophy. It is the trimmest, best arranged, best illustrated, most intelligible, manual of cookery as a high art, and as an economic art, that has appeared."—Independent.
"It is a pleasure to be able to give a man or a book unqualified praise. We have no fear in saying that Mrs. Lincoln's work is the best and most practical cook-book of its kind that has ever appeared. It does not emanate from the chef of some queen's or nobleman's cuisine, but it tells in the most simple and practical and exact way those little things which women ought to know, but have generally to learn by sad experience. It is a book which ought to be in every household."—Philadelphia Press.
"The 'Boston Cook-Book' has a special recommendation. The author, Mrs. Lincoln, was early trained to a love for all household work. That precious experience is a thing for which a cooking-school is no manner of substitute, while it is just the thing for professional training to build upon, widen, and correct. Mrs. Lincoln's book is practical, and though there is much of theory, it gives proof of being based less upon theory and much upon experiment. The book is handsomely gotten up, and will ere long attest its usefulness in better food better prepared, and therefore better digested, in many homes."—Leader.
"It is the embodiment of the actual experience and observation of a woman who has learned and employed superior domestic methods. It is the outcome of Mrs. Lincoln's conscientious and successful labors for the development of practical cooking. It is to be recommended for its usefulness in point of receipts of moderate cost and quantity, in its variety, its comprehensiveness, and for the excellence of its typographical form."—Boston Transcript.
"The instruction given by Mrs. Lincoln at the Boston Cooking-School is so widely and favorably known for its thoroughness and attention to scientific and economical principles, that a cook-book embodying these ideas and principles will be considered a great gain to the housekeeping department. In care and excellence, her book illustrates the modern advance in home cooking."—Boston Journal.
"The book needs no other raison d'être than its own excellence. Every housekeeper in the land would be fortunate to have upon her shelf a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's work."—Boston Courier.
"Mrs. Lincoln's book contains in one volume what most other cook-books contain in three; and its directions are always terse and to the point. It is a thoroughly practical book, and teaches us all how to live well and wisely every day in the year."—The Beacon.
Page 56 "The most valuable feature of Mrs. Lincoln's Cook-Book is, without doubt, the application of scientific knowledge to the culinary art. Mrs. Lincoln has the gift of teaching, and its use in this connection is worthy of the warmest commendation. She has made the necessary explanations in a very lucid and succinct manner. To the thousands of intelligent housekeepers who recognize the importance of the art of the kitchen, this book will be a boon."—Eclectic.
"The book, although at first sight it seems no larger than other cook-books, has over five hundred pages, and takes up the minutest details of housekeeping. Having examined all the standard cook-books now in the market, this seems superior to all. There is so much in this that is not found in other cook-books, that it is equal to a small library in itself."—Extracts from Anna Barrow's letters in Oxford and Portland papers.
"We have at last from Boston something better than the Emersonian philosophy or the learning of Harvard,—something that will contribute more to human health, and consequently to human happiness; and that is, a good, practical cook-book, with illustrations.... We commend Mrs. Lincoln's volume heartily, and wish it might make a part of every bridal outfit."—The Churchman.
"For plain, practical, and at the same time scientific treatment of a difficult subject, commend us to Mrs. Lincoln's 'Boston Cook-Book.' No better book has appeared to keep pace with the wholesome advance of culinary art, as practiced in the common-sense cooking-school."—Toledo.
"It combines whatever is best in those which have gone before, with improvements and refinements peculiar to itself. It is so complete and admirable in its various departments, that it seems to fill every requirement. How soon it will be rivalled or superseded it is unsafe to predict; but for the present we may commend it as in every respect unsurpassed."—The Dial.
"The volume is a compound of information on every household matter; well arranged, clearly written, and attractively made up. Of the many valuable cook-books, not one better deserves a place, or is more likely to secure and hold it."—Helen Campbell.
"The possession of your cook-book has made me quite beside myself. I prize it highly, not only for personal reasons, but because of its real worth. I feel so safe with it as a guide, and if I abide by its rules and laws no harm can befall me."—Adeline Miller, a former pupil, Atlanta, Georgia.
"One need only glance over the pages of Mrs Lincoln's Cook-Book to realize the fact of her aptness in scholarship."—Alta, San Francisco.
"Mrs. Lincoln brings not only the fruits of a long experience to the preparation of her work, but a great amount of scientific research, so that the book is really a mine of information in its way."—The Post, Washington.
"It is one of the most interesting treatises on cooking and housework that we have ever read. It contains much useful information to the general reader, and is one we would recommend to every housekeeper."—Saratoga Sentinel.
Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook-Book is kept on sale by all booksellers everywhere. If you cannot readily obtain it, enclose the amount, $2.00, directly to MRS. D.A. LINCOLN, Boston, Mass., or to the Publishers, who will mail it, postpaid.